DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Alegra Motorsports made a late driver change Saturday to its No. 28 Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona after Michael de Quesada tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), according to IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship officials.
A couple of hours before the 3:40 p.m. ET green flag, the team replaced de Quesada with Mike Skeen, who raced in Saturday’s four-hour Michelin Pilot Challenge race on the Daytona International Speedway road course.
IMSA officials said Skeen wouldn’t be allowed to drive at night because he hadn’t practiced the car under the lights, meaning Daniel Morad, Billy Johnson and Maxi Buhk will handle driving duties after darkness falls Saturday evening.
“Following the guidelines outlined in the Event Operations Protocols manual, Alegra Motorsports has alerted IMSA that driver Michael de Quesada has tested positive for COVID-19 and will replace the driver for the Rolex 24,” IMSA said in a statement to NBC Sports. “We wish Michael well in his recovery and will continue following federal, state and local guidelines to conduct this event in a safe and responsible manner.”
IMSA officials had no further information on what led de Quesada to be diagnosed as there is no mandatory testing for drivers.
Last year, de Quesada finished 26th in the No. 14 Lexus as a teammate of Jack Hawksworth, Parker Chase and NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch.
This is the third instance of a driver missing the Rolex 24 because of a positive COVID-19 test.
Black Swan Racing withdrew its Porsche 911 GT3 R because drivers and team owner Tim Pappas tested positive after racing the 24 Hours of Dubai. Sven Mueller replaced Mathieu Jaminet, one of Austin Dillon’s teammates in the LMP2 class after Jaminet was unable to make the Rolex 24 after racing in Dubai and also contracting COVID-19.
Chip Ganassi Racing driver Renger van der Zande was late arriving at Daytona last week because he was quarantining after a COVID-19 exposure.